Tuesday, 21 March, 2023
HomeSportEngland beat Pakistan by 5 wickets at MCG to second T20 WC...

England beat Pakistan by 5 wickets at MCG to second T20 WC title in 2022 final—key takeaways

England’s opponents in the final, Pakistan, hadn't scored enough runs on a tricky MCG pitch but did well to keep England in check in their chase of 138.

Text Size:

New Delhi: For the second time in four days, English cricket fans at Australian stadiums celebrated raucously and belted out classic crowd tunes “Sweet Caroline” and “Hey Jude”. Their England team delivered a second Men’s T20 World Cup trophy at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday and equaled the West Indies’ record.

England’s opponents in the final, Pakistan, hadn’t scored enough runs on a tricky MCG pitch but did well to keep England in check in their chase of 138 until the recurrence of injury to premier pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi’s right knee.

Off-spin allrounder Iftikhar Ahmed was thrown into the deep end, Stokes and Moeen plundered the overs that followed Shaheen’s injury and it was an easy win for England from there.

Under the captaincy of Jos Buttler and the coaching of Matthew Mott, this victory also marked England’s fifth against Pakistan in the last eight T20 international matches between the two nations. They are scheduled to face each other again this year, in December for a historic Test series in Pakistan.

ThePrint takes a look at some salient talking points from England’s T20 title win at the MCG.

Adil Rashid takes calculated risks in flighted wrist spin 

The Melbourne Cricket Ground generally doesn’t assist spin as much as it does pace and bounce — Pakistan’s Mohammad Nawaz and India’s Axar Patel had already learned this the hard way a few weeks ago. But among the litany of wrist spinners that have had mediocre-to-decent results on this wicket, it was England’s Adil Rashid who stood tall today.

Rather than take the Shadab Khan approach by bowling economical overs without seriously threatening the batsmen, Rashid repeatedly bowled googlies aimed at the stumps and tossed the ball up to deceive batsmen in flight.

In doing so, he found far more purchase and extracted far more turn off the MCG pitch than his Pakistani counterpart, making an instant impact with the dismissal of captain Babar Azam and keeping allrounder Iftikhar Ahmed guessing which way the ball was going to drift.

Rashid’s trajectories also improved over the course of the tournament as he chose to deliver from a wider line against Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan than he did in England’s defeat to Ireland or their opening match against Afghanistan. The result for Rashid were excellent figures of 2 for 22 and a match-turning wicket maiden.

Curran wins ‘player of the tournament’

While both sides bowled excellently on a helpful surface for the majority of the match, the closest to Adil Rashid in taking crucial breakthroughs and giving nothing away with disciplined deliveries was the official “player of the match” Sam Curran.

With left-arm pace already a valuable commodity across the history of T20 cricket, Sam Curran has been on the money all tournament, being England’s leading wicket-taker as well as leading the wickets charts from the Super 12 stage onwards.

The son of former Zimbabwean international cricketer and coach Kevin Curran, Curran was spot on again all innings with his length balls angling away from the Pakistani right-hand batsmen before suckering them into going for the big shot.

As such, he intelligently varied his speeds, lines, and lengths, often bowling into the MCG pitch and maximising the weaknesses of the Pakistani lineup against heightened bounce.

With masterful final figures of 3 for 12 from his 4 overs, Curran was adjudged as the player of the tournament too. Curran made the most of the scoreboard pressure that had been built up by his teammates earlier in the innings, particularly from Rashid.

Babar-Rizwan’s sedate strike rate hurts Pakistan’s batting

The big negative talking point from a Pakistani point of view both in the run-up to and during, the Men’s T20 World Cup was the double-anchoring tactic employed by star openers Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan.

In most home conditions and other helpful pitches such as in the UAE or at the used Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) wicket against New Zealand in the semifinal, it has worked wonders for Pakistan.

However, on numerous other occasions, especially on faster, bouncier tracks like at Melbourne or Perth, it has worked against the team’s batting cause, with the heightened bounce already being a challenge on a technical level for the majority of their squad.

This approach especially looked awry when Rizwan and Babar were struggling for form throughout the Super 12 matches and came up short again in the final. Rizwan hit just one six in his 14 balls, while Babar labouring to 32 off 28 before getting out in an ugly dismissal to Rashid.

The challenge against pace and bounce on this particular MCG pitch was difficult for the English batsmen too, in the face of fire by Pakistan’s pace quartet, and they lost Hales and Salt early.

But crucially, even as Brook and Stokes struggled to hit the ball off-the-square, most of the damage to the required run rate had already been done by Buttler. The England captain showed enough offside game, exquisite timing, and intelligent usage of a creative scoop to ensure that his team didn’t get stuck in repeated dot balls and plays-and-misses in the powerplay.

Buttler’s aggressive 26 off 17 at a strike rate of 152 was the crucial difference between the two nations from a batting approach. With more than 18 months to go for the next Men’s T20 World Cup, there is plenty of time for the Pakistani management to rethink its strategies surrounding T20 batting.

Also read: England’s Jos Buttler, Alex Hales rip India apart to reach T20 World Cup final — key takeaways


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular